Here’s what seems evident; Korryn Gaines had the misfortune of being Black AND mentally impaired. So, does that mean that she deserved more or less professionalism by law enforcement? Does that mean she deserves more or less of our empathy, compassion, and outrage over her plight? On both counts, I say MORE!! Definitively and absolutely MORE!! It seems people are slow to embrace her and her experience, because, well, she deserved what she got, right? If you don’t lay down, you die, right? That’s foolishness.
The professionals with delegated authority also bear the greater responsibility that comes with that authority. I want to know more. I need to know more. Were social workers and psychologists on the scene along with SWAT? Was there a negotiator on the scene? If so, did they get every opportunity to de-escalate the situation, particularly given the presence of a child? Were all of the negotiation protocols followed? Were the officers or the child in imminent danger? Couldn’t SWAT have shot to injure vs. shot to kill? They are ostensibly regarded as “marksmen”, right? There are so many questions because law enforcement has so many responsibilities in these life or death situations. Too many to resort to the ridiculous position of “suspect didn’t comply, so she had to die”.
Vincent Clark lives in Buffalo, NY where he is the Vice President of Communications & Development for The Buffalo Urban Leauge and the Assistant Pastor of New Direction Christian Fellowship.